Finally it was here – embarkation day!
We woke up early and immediately looked out the window for a glimpse of the Equinox. She was there!
The biggest question of the day was what time to head over to the ship. I suggested 10:30 am so we’d be getting there just before 11. Richard thought it would take 10 or 15 minutes to get a taxi so he wanted to be in the lobby at 10 am. There was a taxi dropping some folks off at the hotel so we were immediately on our way and at the port by 10:20 am. Outside the port building it looked busy – there were still many folks that had disembarked that morning, waiting for transportation and some folks like us arriving early. We actually missed the porters entirely, got to the embarkation door for suites and elites, and still had our luggage. We turned around and found the porters, got rid of most of our luggage.
Back in line, we were just inside the doorway of the building. The line was only about 20 people deep, but they were not yet letting anyone through. Just before 11 am they started processing people through security and into the check-in lines. The check-in folks didn’t seem quite ready as it took them a good 5 minutes to find our sea pass cards, but no matter – we’re about to board our ship!
Sea pass cards in hand we made a quick stop at the photographers and then headed upstairs. One side of the terminal was setup for elites/suites, aqua class, and one organized group. Water was provided, maybe coffee too – I didn’t pay much attention. After a short wait they announced that we would begin boarding the ship (I think it was around 11:30 am). The elites/suites area was first to board and we were among the first few people on the ship. The only very minor disappointment was that they directed us to the forward doors so rather than entering the ship for the first time mid-ship in the atrium we were at the forward elevators. Of course, welcome aboard champagne and orange juice was being handed out.
We had 2 main goals: upgrade our drink packages from Classic to Premium and check our table assignment for dinner. Actually the drink package upgrade was Richard’s goal, I was happy to take a ‘wait and see’ approach to upgrading, but he was set on it. Since we had booked this cruise on the 1-2-3 GO promotion the Classic package was given to us at no additional cost. Upgrading to Premium is $11.50 per day, per person. Upgrading can be done at any bar or by any staff member who is selling drink packages. They will usually have at least 1 table setup to promote the packages upon embarkation.
We found an assistant maitre d’ inside one of the main dining room (MDR) entrances. Once again we had been assigned to a 2 person table despite having asked for a large table. The situation was easily remedied and we were moved to the center of the dining room at an 8 person table.
Silhouette Restaurant, commonly referred to as the MDR.
The announcement that staterooms were ready came just after 2 pm. Besides wanting to see our room, it is finally time that we can get rid of our carry on bag. I’ll show you photos and talk about the benefits/disadvantages of our room in about a week.
Next thing we knew it was time to head up to the Sunset Bar for sailaway. Our fellow Cruise Critic roll call members planned to be there, along with lots of other cruisers who know what a nice location it is at the top, aft end of the ship for watching us depart.
Leaving Fort Lauderdale. The weather had been nicer today, it must have been around 70 because it was neither too hot or too cold outside.